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Game save mechanics and structures

While browsing some topics it dawned on me that I did not know whether or not you will be able to have multiple game saves. How will the saved game files be structured? How will saving the game work?


I can think of a few different ways that it could be set up
  • Skyrim structure - There are just a bunch of saves grouped together allowing for multiple instances, that may or may not be different games, but the most recent is what is loaded and in order to play a different save you will have to load the game up then in game go to a different save.
  • Skyrim save mechanic- Mostly up to the player to make saves, if the player fails to have a recent save then the next death is a cruel punishment sending them back hours.
  • Minecraft structure - You have multiple 'worlds' / 'universes' when you start up the game and you choose which to play, but you may only play the latest save and are unable to load older saves of that 'world' / 'universe'.
  • Minecraft save mechanic - the game saves upon quitting, if you crash then everything you did during that session has a good chance of being gone. This is one of the most common save types IMO, the classic Save and Quit
  • Kerbal Space Program structure- The game has multiple game saves like Minecraft but every time you load the game, there is a temporary quick save file that you can create with f10 and reload/revert to with f9. Additionally you may revert to the shuttle launch or vehicle assembly just prior to launch, but this feature is only available as long as you do not leave focus from that specific shuttle/craft.
  • Kerbal Space Program save mechanic - the game does it all the heavy lifting for you, upon reaching certain points or certain events occurring the game will save and that point will be loaded if a quick save is not yet set or if the game crashes. Quick saves are player made and have the ability to go back past the main game save.
I chose these games simply because they are very well known but upon further thought I think a very good system structure would be a mix, the structure of Minecraft with multiple 'worlds' / 'universes' and Skyrim’s layout allowing for multiple instances of the currently loaded 'world' / 'universe'.

All of these save mechanics have pros and cons but what I would claim to be an ideal system is more of a mix between KSP and Skyrim and less of a presence of Minecraft. Having Skyrim’s ability to make in-game saves is helpful, especially when the game is modded, allowing for some crash protection but having the KSP style quick save is a very handy tool. Allowing the use of two function keys for quick saving and loading the quick save allows for a ‘seamless’ play through by giving the player the option of not going into a menu to save then come back into the game. With Skyrim in mind, one would argue the need for a better auto save mechanic, one that is closer to KSP. Some good auto save points that come to mind would be getting on and off warp rails, interacting with a station or a colony, going through a wormhole or coming out a wormhole.

I was unsure whether this should be in general due to my overall questions or suggestions due to the suggestions I ended up making, but since my original intent was to pose a question I figured that general was appropriate. If a mod thinks otherwise I would like to apologize for the mistake.

*EDIT* added a poll,
Flatfingers wrote: Also, this needs a poll. :)
Last edited by SquaredCubed on Tue Dec 09, 2014 10:51 am, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: Game save mechanics and structures

KSP hasnt invented quicksave, skyrim has that too, try F5 to save and F9 to load :P

i think some "hybrid" save structure would be nice, where you span up a "tree" of savegames.

like with branching timelines.

when you start a game you create a new "root" of your savegame.

there may happen autosaves, quicksaves, manual "named" saves, autosave on quit etc...

those are all sorted below their root, sorted by playtime, as they belong to the same playthrough.

the magic happens when you go to an older save (say a few hours ago) and start playing from that point.

there you create a "branch" of your savegame, you create a new timeline branching off from the first one.

so with successive saves and reloads you create a tree of "what if's" consisting of savegames.

Spoiler:      SHOW
for example this image of the "save screen"

you start your game at the "new game" point, your root.

you play a bit along line 1 and at a point after you saved a second time (after line 1 save 2) you recognise that you made a mistake between L1S1 and L1S2,
so you go back to the first save of the first line (line 1 save 1) and continue playing from there.

you play along line 2 for a while, build your empire, just play the game.
between L2S1 and L2S2 you have a pivotal point, do you side with one faction or another?
you make your decision and continue playing along this timeline.

at L2S3 you think "what if i had sided with the other faction?".
so you go back to L2S1 and side this time with the other faction, creating the third timeline.

this usually happens in all games where you can make decisions (do i side with those or with these?)

but it usually ends up being a mess of savegames, and in games where you cant name your savestates it gets messy even faster.

so i'd suggest a savestate UI that actually recognises those branching timelines

Re: Game save mechanics and structures

blacktea wrote:I would like to have some hardcore savegame option, where the Game autosaves every 10-30 min. and you cannot save on your own. So Hopefully the savegame mechanic will be exposed to LTSL as well :)
That is like the exact opposite of what I want. I need to be able to save and leave games if something comes up. Hate so much save points or timed saves.

To each his own tho. Both options would be nice.

Re: Game save mechanics and structures

DigitalDuck wrote:
blacktea wrote:I would like to have some hardcore savegame option, where the Game autosaves every 10-30 min. and you cannot save on your own. So Hopefully the savegame mechanic will be exposed to LTSL as well :)
You could always just choose not to save.
Assuming there is autosave. ;)
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Re: Game save mechanics and structures

There is this thread running in the Scripting and Modding section Mods, Profiles, Seeds & Saves, however it doesn't deal with autosave aspect, but does throw in some other ideas around this subject.

As to autosave, I installed the Skyrim mod that does it every x minutes, but can also trigger "leaving combat", "on progress" etc. - but found with all/many options it was constantly saving and got annoying, so just used timer.

So various options then for LT so each can select their preferred setting I suppose would be the ultimate outcome.
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Re: Game save mechanics and structures

DigitalDuck wrote:
blacktea wrote:I would like to have some hardcore savegame option, where the Game autosaves every 10-30 min. and you cannot save on your own. So Hopefully the savegame mechanic will be exposed to LTSL as well :)
You could always just choose not to save.

Yeah, i know :) But then i have to decide, when to save, and when not to save. Then I will end up asking myself after some time, why didn't i save at those important times in the game. So it always ends the one way, even it is much more fun the other way. Well i only want to have a possibility to mod this in. I am well aware, that most people like exactly the opposite, so i am not arguing about this ;)

Re: Game save mechanics and structures

I would say no to timed saving. I find it annoying with some Skyrim mods.

I would say autosave if this were a story-oriented game, but it's not. For LT I would prefer fast save and manual save in different optional slots, so you can choose to have different saves in different universes and/or with different characters. I would like to have different slots for fast save too, so if you are using just that you can always go back at least ten saves back in case something goes wrong (like save file corruption). And of course, you can save everytime and everywhere you want. (I could understand if there are specific situations when you can't, like combat.)
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Re: Game save mechanics and structures

Well I think I have seen some games that have both auto save and manual save. You have a little option in the settings that allows you to set the auto save with like 5 minutes 10 minutes, and then the option for no auto save. That being said. I definitely want to be able to manually save and do the quick save, or at least the regular if not both. Auto save is not really a requirement as far as I am concerned, but it is nice to have sometimes when you forget to save at that critical moment. :)
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